Agasthyavanam Biological Park
The Agasthyvanam Biological Park expands over an area of 23 Sq. Km. The Park is named after the Agasthyarkoodam, the second highest peak in the state. It is located only 35 kilometers away from Trivandrum City.Agasthyvanam Biological Park is a result of the Kerala Government’s initiative of the conservation of wildlife & forest reserve. During the 1980’s Kerala Government understood that because unscientific felling, fire, cattle feeding and many other reason Kerala forest & wildlife were disappearing from the screen very slowly. Kottur in Trivnadrum was one of the highly affected areas because of the man’s unscientific exploitation of nature. The Government of Kerala established a scientific committee to study the feasibility of setting up a Biological park in the highly degraded forest area of Kottur during 1992. The region earmarked under this project had insignificant tree and animal population although it had abundant water resources. The soil was found fertile and the climate salubrious. The flora and fauna, which had existed here, should have been the representatives of Western Ghats. The Kottur Reserve forests lie in the Paruthipalli range of Trivandrum forest division. It lies on the western slope of the Western Ghats, at the south-east corner in Nedumangad taluk. It is contiguous with the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in the southwest borders and the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary in the northeast. The highly degraded nature of this area was the reason for not including it in any of the sanctuaries. The ultimate objective of the Agasthyavanam Biological Park includes the regeneration and eco-restoration of the degraded forest of Kottur Reserve, scientific conservation of the existing flora and fauna, to create maximum biodiversity by reintroducing the extinct endemic species, to achieve maximum sustainable utilization of water and soil, to facilitate documentation of flora and fauna and to encourage research and eco-tourism.
The total estimated area of the park is 23 sq.km, out of this 17.5 sq.km is to be converted to thick jungle and the rest is for manipulative programmes of conservation. Conservatories will be established for a variety of plant species and for the reintroduction, production, breeding and propagation of wild animals and birds. Inspite of the good rainfall received, the quick drainage of water from the area to the Arabian Sea leaves the place barren for six months. Small check dams, if built, can retain water in small ponds and preserve the humidity and moisture and promote vegetation growth in the dry season. Thus the Agasthyavanam Project, focus on ecotourism, forestation and conservation. A maximum of 50 persons per day is only allowed into the park. Visitors are issued an entry pass from the Trivandrum Wildlife Division against payment of Rs 50. It is better to halt at Athiramal, as there are no facilities for accommodation near the park.